It seems to be only only a blink of an eye since the season started with a hopeful trip to Devon, but somehow it is the end of the season and this Saturday we welcome Plymouth Albion to Volac Park.
There has been a settlement by the River Plym since the Bronze age - though the main settlement was inland at Plymton until the channel silted up and the centre of trade moved to the village - then called Sutton - where the river opens into the Sound, hence Plymouth - though the Sutton name lives on in the Parliamentary constituency.
Plymouth has a namesake in Massachusetts at the heart of the colony founded by English puritans fleeing control from James I and VI. James had charted two companies to settle America, the London and Plymouth companies. The London company's settlement at Jamestown survived - albeit after starvation - while the Plymouth Company's settlement at Popham Maine had disbanded after a year, even though only one colonist had died and they built the ship they sailed home on.
The Puritans therefore headed for territory granted to the defunct Plymouth Company to avoid Royal control. They had set out from Rotherhide in the Mayflower and Speedwell and called at Deftshaven in the Netherlands but was forced to head back to Plymouth the Speedwell sprang a leak and proved incapable of making the Atlantic crossing. The Puritans were forced to sell the Speedwell and continue with just one ship. They came to suspect that the Speedwell's master had deliberately caused the leaks for fear of starvation in the New World.
William and Mary commissioned a new Dockyard on the banks of the Tamar. Originally known as Plymouth Docks, it became known as Devonport.
Do not confuse the Royal Naval Dockyard Devonport with Devonport Naval Base, that is half a world away in Auckland New Zealand. My grandfather actually served in both, being sent South as part of the effort to improve the Auckland base ready for the coming war before it was handed over to the newly separate New Zealand Navy in 1941. He and his family then returned home on a convoy risking attack from U-boats to continue the war effort at home. He continued working in the dockyards until he retired in the 1960s.
George II added a Naval Hospital just up the river at East Stonehouse and William IV a victualling yard.
By the nineteenth century the three settlements were known collectively as the Three Towns but it was not until 1914 that they were merged into the City of Plymouth.
Plymouth Albion is another merger. The original Plymouth club adopted professional code in 1912 when the Northern Union were attempting to form a South Western franchise. Those who wanted to continue the XV man game merged with Devonport Albion and moved to Beacon Park - their home until 2003 when they moved to the Brickfields. This is the first time we have played Plymouth at home in the league. They had been at Level 2 from 2002 until 2015 but financial troubles led to relegation and administration.
So come along and cheer the boys on one last time this season - and possibly stay and buy them a drink or two after the match.